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The outbreak happened three years ago. One thousand, one hundred and sixteen days, to be exact.      

How I managed to survive so long was still a bit of mystery to me. I’d lost everything between then and now: family, friends, home, any sense of safety in the world. 

My own identity.

Sense of self, it turns out, tends to crumble under the urgency of raw survival.

The whole thing was pretty ironic; planet earth, devastated by vampirism. If I had any sense of humor left, I might have had a good laugh. I could still remember a time when I’d been part of the simpering fangirl collective who daydreamed about being ravished by beautiful creatures of the night à la Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire—or better yet, Tom Hiddleston in Only Lovers Left Alive.

Fucking vampires. We’d made them so sexy and glamorous for our own entertainment. The reality was throat-tearing, soul-rending, worldwide devastation.

The virus killed two-thirds of the human beings it infected. The other third turned into soulless, blood-sucking reptiles.

I don’t mean that literally–at least, not the reptile part. They still look pretty much human, except for the waxy, blackened skin and nightmare teeth. But their minds become reptilian: cold, pitiless, predatory. It’s like the virus triggers some kind of de-evolution. They lose the ability to think and feel beyond basic animal impulses. Even to speak.
I guess that’s something to be grateful for, honestly; I’d gotten along so far by outsmarting them. Intelligent, predatory humans with insatiable bloodlust would have been much harder to survive.

During the initial outbreak, the news reports claimed the virus came from outer space. An extraterrestrial visitor brought it to us. I still remember the images of the ship falling from the sky. 
At first, it was just a dark spot streaking through our atmosphere, trailing smoke and fire. It struck in the desert east of Los Angeles, leaving a two-mile gash in the dry earth. Fragments of the hull were stripped away by the impact and they glittered in the wreckage—bits of blue, metallic flesh that wriggled in the dirt; mindless, but still thrashing with the impulse of life, like the severed tail of a lizard. 

The helicopter footage showed military vehicles and soldiers with guns. Scientists taking samples, to be studied in some lab somewhere. 

They’d taken the ship’s pilot, too, when he appeared—white-skinned, black-haired, and unexpectedly human—clambering from the wreckage. 
Word of the virus came the next morning. There had been attacks. The extraterrestrial pilot had broken out of the military base where they’d taken him. 
The scientists were all dead. The soldiers, too. 

The prisoner had escaped. They showed a picture of his face. Pale and beautiful, with heavily-lashed blue eyes and shoulder-length black curls.

He was to be considered armed and dangerous—and highly infectious. 

And there was more.

There were creatures loose in the streets of LA, killing people. Drinking their blood. 

The virus spread fast—by bodily fluid, just like in the movies. Within minutes of contact, the victim was either drowning in their own blood—spraying infection in every direction as their lungs filled—or tearing at the throat of the nearest uninfected human. 

By the end of that week, the entire country was in quarantine. The streets of LA were pure chaos. The death toll reached the hundreds of thousands. 

There were reports of the virus turning up in Europe, then China. Australia. After a month, T.V. and radio signals went down. The internet crashed. 

Blood and Lies: A Dark RomanceWhere stories live. Discover now